Green Pine and White Sail, by Ike no Taiga

  • Edo period
  • 18c
  • Hanging scroll, ink on paper
  • H-53.7 W-90.8
Catalogue Entry

by Ike-no-Taiga
Edo period, 18th century
Hanging scroll, ink on paper
Height, 53.7cm; width, 90.8cm

A pine tree is depicted in the immediate foreground of this painting, using the so-called "close-up" compositional technique. This close-up representation is then further heightened by the broad expanse of a horizontal format, a bold, imaginative form that can be considered quintessentially Taiga-esque.

Ike-no-Taiga (1723-76) was a painter known as one of the greats of Japanese literati painting, and yet he kept himself removed from an aloof literati painter stance. He did not insist on a strict adherence to a purely literati painting style, but rather was always intent upon bringing new painterly insights and viewpoints into his work. Western-style painting expression was one such viewpoint. There are famous anecdotes regarding Taiga's fascination with the landscape engravings brought to Japan from the West, and the veracity of such tales is confirmed by Taiga's "true-view" realistic depictions, such as his True View of Mt. Asama.

The extreme "close-up" technique found in the present work might also be seen as an expression of Taiga's acceptance of a western painterly viewpoint. Signed "Kasho" with a red letter linked-oval seal "Kasho." HK